This weekend the Mets take on the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field, while the Yankees travel to Fenway Park to face their arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Steven Matz gets things started for the Mets on Friday night; his first home start of the year was a disaster but he bounced back with two solid road starts against the Indians and Braves (two runs allowed, 17 Ks in 13.2 IP). The Giants have never faced Matz, and are 4-5 against southpaws this season.
Countering for the Giants is Jake Peavy, who’s gotten off to a shaky start in April (1-1, 6.86 ERA, 1.76 WHIP). The Mets hope he’ll continue his sluggish beginning, as he’s puzzled them in the past; Curtis Granderson, David Wright and Lucas Duda are a combined 8-for-50 against Peavy all-time.
Jacob deGrom gets the ball for the Mets on Saturday afternoon. He flirted with danger in his first start since returning from the DL/Paternity list, giving up eight hits in 5.2 IP to Atlanta, but allowed only one run. deGrom has dominated San Francisco in the past, winning both his starts while allowing only two runs on six hits in 15.1 IP.
Matt Cain will try to match zeroes with deGrom, but things have not been going well for him lately. He’s been papercut to death in his first four starts (27 hits in 21 IP, but only two home runs) and has run up high pitch counts while barely lasting six innings at a time. The Mets as a whole have fared poorly against Cain in the past, but Wright has had no problem figuring him out in prior meetings (11-for-28).
Aces face off in the Sunday finale, as Noah Syndergaard clashes with Madison Bumgarner. Syndergaard got roughed up by the Giants last June (four runs on 10 hits), but has been nearly untouchable in his first four starts this season (38 K’s in 26.2 IP). Bumgarner has appeared human in his first five starts (2-2, 3.64 ERA, 1.35 WHIP), but he’s stifled the Mets in the past (3-0, 1.24 ERA, 0.79 WHIP). Interestingly, newest Met Rene Rivera, called up to replace Travis d’Arnaud, is 2-for-3 all-time against Bumgarner with a home run.
Yankees – Red Sox
The greatest rivalry in baseball will add a new chapter when the Yankees and Red Sox clash for the first time in 2016 on Friday night. Masahiro Tanaka will toe the rubber for the Yankees, while Henry Owens goes for Boston.
Teams have made the most of their opportunities against Tanaka this year, as he has a 0.97 WHIP in four starts yet carries a 2.92 ERA. Tanaka has gotten mixed results against the Red Sox in seven career starts (4-2, 5.13 ERA). Owens, a lefty from California, has been rocked by the Bombers in limited prior opportunities (10 runs on 11 hits in just 6.2 IP).
Michael Pineda goes for the Yankees on Saturday, and he’ll be looking to bounce back off a dreadful start against the Rays on April 24 (5.0 IP, 10 hits, seven runs). Pineda will have to pay close attention to Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, as they’ve had success against him in the past (8-for-25 with two home runs combined).
Rick Porcello responds for Boston, and after being lost in the wilderness in 2015 (9-15, 4.92 ERA), he’s found his best stride early in 2016; he’s 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA including 6.1 scoreless innings against the Braves last time out.
Sunday night’s series finale features Nathan Eovaldi for the Bombers and David Price for the Red Sox. Eovaldi knocked his ERA down quite a bit by shutting out the Rangers for seven innings last Monday. Despite his 4.38 ERA, Eovaldi’s strikeout numbers have increased dramatically from last year to now (10.2 K/9 inn compared to 7.1 last year), and his walk ratio has decreased greatly as well (1.8 BB/9 inn in 2016, 2.9 in 2015).
Price has looked like a horrible investment for Boston so far, as he totes a 5.36 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in spite of his 3-0 record; numbers way above his career marks. Jacoby Ellsbury (21-for-63) and Brian McCann (10-for-29, 3 HRs) are among the Yankees with strong career numbers against Price.